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Nature recreation - towards sustainable development of ecosystem services
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The overall objective of the project is to strengthen sustainable development of ecosystem services through joint study and training activities in nature recreation field. Specific objectives of the project are:- To advance professional skills of students, environment specialists etc. in compliance with labour market demands;- To develop specific study materials (adapted for Latvia, Lithuania and Spain) for improvement of study process and for the benefit of local, regional, national and international specialists.The need for the project was defined by the requirements of the labour market stating lack of professionals in nature recreation sector. Therefore Daugavpils University (DU) together with Siauliai University (SU) have worked out joint international interdisciplinary master degree study programme “Nature Recreation” to be implemented in cooperation with University of Cordoba (Spain). The essence of the project is to provide knowledge about sustainable use of natural systems to give a sense for human recreation in well-known nature. Nowadays it is vital to understand how to employ nature for public health improvement without the damage of nature balance. Spain is the country where the public has been doing this for a long time and biology and environment specialists are prepared to help people to discover the nature wealth.Net4Nat project idea and objectives complies with European regulations on education and training - as stated in targets of Europe 2020 strategy "Improving the quality and relevance of higher education: curricula, including researcher training, must be attuned to current labour market needs", strategic objectives and set of principles of ET 2020 “European cooperation in education and training should be cross-sectoral [..]” and the actions involved in Bologna Declaration - "cooperation with regard to quality assurance and the European dimension in higher education " are observed as well. Besides the project idea complies also with targets of EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 "better protection for ecosystems and more use of green infrastructure".The project activities comprise elaboration of intellectual outputs such as large scale presentations for Zoology, Botany, Phenology courses, field course methodology, interdisciplinary joint research comprising several studies, proceedings for lab works and manual on Nature Recreation. Within the project 4 joint international trainings/workshops will be organized to improve professional skills of students, environment specialists etc. At the end of the project final public conference will be organized for dissemination of project results and outputs to a wider audience. Transnational project meetings are also foreseen for efficient project implementation.The results achieved by the implementation of the project Net4Nat include: • Sustainable ecosystem services strengthened through joint study and training activities in nature recreation field.• Multicultural environment for students created ensuring greater understanding to cultural diversity; • Students trained to do ethical and socially responsible choices for independent research to creatively improve accessibility of nature for human recreation;• Created specific methodologies - study materials (adapted for Latvia, Lithuania and Spain and available for use on internet for HEIs in other countries) enabling the diversification of the labour market and youth integration into it, especially in rural areas;• Manual on Nature Recreation developed for the benefit of students, teachers, nature and environment specialists, local/district municipalities etc. and disseminated to interested parties via internet resources and other media.• Increased competence of foreign languages of participants – students, pupils, school teachers, and academic staff of HEIs. Taking part in project activities and training events that will be conducted in English the target groups of all partner countries will improve English language skills; • Greater use of interdisciplinary thinking within partner and other HEIs due to the teacher friendly and student-friendly interactive character of the study materials; • 3 nature trails elaborated for DU study and research centre “Ilgas” within joint research activities. The is situated in protected area and is considered to be exclusive territory in terms of nature and biodiversity. The first 3 nature trails elaborated within the project will be the starting point for future development of similar actions after the project ends.To ensure sustainability of all project results and confirm positive intentions for future cooperation the project partners will prepare and sign Good Will Agreement during the final public conference that will serve as an official platform for future actions.
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